Human traits we sadly lack

Editorial, Normal

THERE are certain things that are beyond the average Papua New Guinean.
Capital to enter into business. Skills and knowledge to become proficient in certain professions.
Even language, comprehension, modern dress forms, colour coordination and etiquette are sometimes overwhelming for the majority of our people.
Those are the dilemmas of the modern lifestyle which, unfortunately, is the lot of modern man. Papua New Guineans simply cannot ignore them or blame the constitutional fathers for having adopted such a system for them.
To ignore them would be to lock the country in a time capsule in a distant and ancient era that would have our citizens wallow in wretchedness and ignominy.
Yet, to become fully modern has its own hurdles and PNG has not quite passed them. The good thing is that it is a learning thing dependent on time and, hopefully, the conditions which appear insurmountable now will be a thing of the past in another two generations.
But there are some things that can be immediately done which are not being done. These things, seemingly small and negligible, are human traits which are never foreign to any society.
Lacking these traits, a society can become prisoner to its own excesses which, taken together, are a damning indictment upon a nation.
On Saturday evening, a young woman and her male partner narrowly escaped death on a Port Moresby road when the car she was driving had its tyre burst and the vehicle rolled a number of times before coming to rest on its side, facing the opposite way it came.
As fast as the accident happened, within seconds there was a huge crowd of people gathered around the vehicle. Vehicles were stopped and people rushed out – it seemed to help.
People pushed the car with its two occupants upright and it appeared at first as if help was coming from total strangers for the couple. But soon it become obvious what the mob really wanted.
Hands were pulling at the woman and her male companion from the broken windows. The male companion must have said something which did not please the people reaching into the car and he got a punch to his face for his trouble.
The woman was in even bigger trouble. Hands were all over her body, searching for personal belongings as well as harassing and basically molesting her.
There was no concern at all for a couple who had just escaped death and who were quite obviously in shock and desperately in need of help.
But instead of helping, their own country folk were intent on taking advantage of them, helping themselves to property in the car and wanting to hurt the couple.
Gone from that mob instinct were the traits that make a society decent – care, concern, a helping hand and respect.
Saturday’s incident is not the first such incident and it is not exclusive to Port Moresby. In many parts of the country, accident scenes normally invite robbery, molestation and even rape when you would expect the opposite to happen.
Such acts are mindless, more the actions of animals than of humans.
So long as such mad acts persist, this nation can never develop as a peace-loving, caring and sharing society. Countries and societies thrive by defending and helping one another in times of need. Those that do not will never stand as a cohesive and strong society.
A strong community is the sum total of the collective efforts of the individual members.
Those that do not will never be able to cooperate and will degenerate into individualism, which is the surest way to failure and chaos.
Then there are the other attributes that aid this lack of care and respect – the unthinking desire to spit betelnut spittle everywhere, the lack of respect for womenfolk, graffiti and sloth.
These attributes, every traditional society will know, are not customary among the small clan and tribal unit.
These are attributes that are somehow the by-products of modern society and they must be consciously cauterised from society before they become the norm, as they threaten to be increasingly, and wreak havoc.
It is all a mindset thing really. We must change our mindset before changing our physical landscape in order to usher in and engender development, progress and all the noble values of modern life.
In the other direction, going the way PNG is, lie moral decay and chaos.